LGBTQIA+ artist, NEA and MacDowell Fellow, and former Key West Poet Laureate, Flower Conroy’s books include “Snake Breaking Medusa Disorder,” “A Sentimental Hairpin" and “Greenest Grass” (winner of the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize, forthcoming 2023). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in New England Review, American Literary Review, The Yale Review and elsewhere.
Vertebrae of light, belly to plaster, spine to threshold. I wasn’t planned. I was a mistake. An accident. Once thought I was knocked-up though I was still a virgin. Once confused pro-choice & -life thinking the life meant was not of the seed but of the woman. What it is to be exploited, splayed. To say your name twice first thing first day of the month’s to invoke a string of luck. Fuck-zealous forebringer of spring & renewal, surveying 360° everything but taking for granted what’s at the tip of your nose. Time my father cupped you in his hat, saved from the blades of the mower? I didn’t know your other meaning that day I told my mother I found you—pet some lover’d gifted me—limp in your cage. She thought I was speaking in tongue. Dead as metaphor, as secret code. S.C.O.T.U.S overturned Roe V Wade June 24, 2022, stripping women of bodily autonomy. Something drove Mary to that origin story. Lunar & underworld augury, demiurge lascivious & fecund. Renaissance emblem of purity & faith unquestioning. Resurrection. Constant state of alert. Low humming while circling. Crowing barking or howling midnight. Warren is a sign. Trancing’s traumatic. Pounding. Heart. Is a sign. Digging’s innate. But paw stomping. Thumping. Tapping. Is. Warning. I watershed that summer the usual blood, rope of thorns I ravished the garden
In his rejection of ghosts Augustine wrote ‘that some visions have appeared not knowing where their bodies lay unburied’. Here gapes a wound of a self-inflected nature. Strange is nothing: nothing is strange. A gothic mirroring. This was flesh, no ghost, blood coursing veins & gripdeath. This moment not rotating exposure. Or was fringe; the quasi- uncloaked & closeheld. Let me be clear. Of thieves, the glances. I was oblivious until my mind processed the blatant. June. End of June. The air obscene. A haze. This unknown this stranger seemingly startled by his own phenomena of volume the way one might second guess oneself & double back to the door, grab the knob & attempt its swivel. Here fingerling & floral name along this gutted hollow. Waistband pulled to plinth, the patience with which he was plumbing, unrushed, dusting himself. My privacy of knowing beauty transcends its own point of reference. Shafts of sun blading sky. Dangerous, getting close